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Alpha processor family


Alpha's RISC processors designed and made by DEC (now Compaq).
Since about 1997h2 actualy produced by Intel instead of DEC/Compaq.

These are currently the fastest processors available and they have a nice, very pure RISC instruction set. They are fully 64-bit but are quite wastefull with memory space and energy. (Now: 199802)

It's future

Because of the sale of DEC to Compaq, probably to be phased out in a couple of years in favor of Merced. (199802)

An Alpha afficionado (even more than I am ;-) resented the last sentense and wrote me:
This is now obsolete speculation. Alpha has been given a long life from Compaq, Tandem and is being helped by Samsung, API and soon AMD and IBM.
See for additional details and links to many other sites with information on the future longevity of the Alpha processor.
Aaron Sakovich <>

Well I'm not going to retract my statement. I think that Compaq grew big (biggest PC maker!) because of adhering to the 'Intel standard' and will not waste money by having to maintain two major product lines (one not even of their own making). Things like these killed DEC. Compaq will most likely follow a policy of being friendly to old DEC customers (including the stubborn Alpha users), so they can make them new offers and gradually convince them to use the Pentium and soon Merced.
By the way I'm typing this under DEC/Unix 3.2 on a (company that I worked for) self-build 166 MHz Alpha PC, but my new computer is an AMD K6-2 333MHz (=Pentium) running under NT 4.0 (and Linux soon). Just to try out NT I bought a cheap (Alpha) Multia for fun earlier...
Of course the Alpha is a much nicer processor but standardization and cost effectiviness are unfortunately probably worth much more...

In the mean time I was already proven partly right: Compaq and Microsoft have stopped development of NT for the Alpha architecture in the autumn of 1999. Compaq however still stays developing new Alpha's for it's higher end computers. Probably the faith of the Alpha now depends on how succesful the Merced will prove to be.


More information

more info:
21064, 21066, 21068 DEC*, Mitsubishi, Samsung Datasheets Running Linux on an Alpha processor
local DEC's press-release about the new 21164 This is the independent Alpha NT site! (Gone?) Special Digital Alpha Offers in the netherlands

See also:
local See the other families of processors. FAQ's about microcontrollers You can find a lot of FAQ's here

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